Words – J Forsyth

Photos – J Forsyth

ACCLAIM magazine Issue #27 Launch and screening of Big Fun in the Big Town, Rancho Notorious, 361 Little Lonsdale Street

Did you know Australia has had a 26 year Dutch hip hop documentary drought? Actually, I cannot corroborate that, but I can tell you that to mark the launch of ACCLAIM Magazine’s 27th issue, an Australian-first screening of Big Fun in the Big Town was shown, and this is one of the first time this hip hop doco has been shown outside of Holand since it made its Dutch TV debut in 1986. Gosh.

Held at Rancho Notorious on August 9 and presented by Adidas Original, the documentary was made by music journalist Bram Van Splunteren for Dutch television, then archived til now. It was a ticketed event and with that you got Sailor Jerry’s Rum and a copy of ACCLAIM number 27.

Finding our way into the venue via a typically Melbourne alleyway entrance, we gave a ‘stuff you’ to the typically Melbourne weather and headed for the warmth of the rum.

According to ACCLAIM Magazine, they love hip hop and this was evident in the crowd. Sparkly, studded Adidas jackets teamed with a plethora of caps, beanies and high tops. Notably though, there were a lot of ‘other’ types of people present, showing that there is a broad section of the community interested in the hip hop genre.

Like most screenings, it did not go off without a hitch. Prior to the main attraction, a short 20 minute feature was scheduled as a prelude, but as it’s now 2012 and the doco was still on VHS, things got a little ugly. Being the age I am, I’m familiar with the tracking technique being executed to try and get the video from squiggly lines to something recognisable. After explaining to the crowd (some of whom may have been born in the 90s) what was up, we moved on to hearing from the director Bram instead.

A well-spoken Dutchman who may or may not have over described things, Bram was full of enthusiasm and clearly had invested a lot in this project. After his brief-ish explanation, we were rolling. Big Fun in the Big Town was amazing to watch; hip hop lover or not. The footage of old New York was like travelling back through time. Back to when hip hop was emerging as a music power and getting recognition for giving poor kids from the New York boroughs something to fill their lives with other than crack.

The doco showed interviews and footage of a young LL COOL J well prior to his SVU days, Run DMC, and Schooly D among others. The film finished just before I started to lose interest and was capped off with a Q and A.
Now, I do not like Q and A’s. I find they are more about knobs trying to show how smart, arty or cool they are instead of actually truly wanting to know the answer to something.
This was no exception. One young lass took it upon herself to ask several questions that:
A) Had already been answered,
B) Were annoying, and
C) Encouraged the crowd to mock her under their breath.

Eventually, as people started rising to leave the MC took over, shutting her up and saving face for Bram who was very interesting to listen to despite the aforementioned Dumbos annoying questions. This was no fault of the organisers and all in all, the launch of ACCLAIM’s 27th issue was a cool event, showing a really cool film in a cool venue. My only suggestion to the organisers is to perhaps implement a one question per person policy for future events.

You can check out more ACCLAIM stuff at and don’t be tight; if you like it, buy it, and help support something cool!